Neural Tract-tracing Nucleic Acid Carriers

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R43MH088092-01A1
Agency Tracking Number: R43MH088092
Amount: $699,973.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: NIMH
Solicitation Number: PA08-146
Small Business Information
1000 WESTGATE DR, STE 115, ST. PAUL, MN, -
DUNS: 148070860
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (651) 209-9757
Business Contact
Phone: (651) 209-9757
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Neural Tract-tracing Nucleic Acid Carriers Existing transfection reagents perform very poorly in mature neurons in vitro, and are not suitable for in vivo use. This Phase I project will test the performance of a novelnucleic acid carrier under development at Innovative Surface Technologies, Inc. (ISurTec) for universal transfection of neurons in vitro and in vivo. This technology is platform-based and consists of a polymeric nanoparticle for high-efficiency non-viralgene and siRNA transfection, chemically masked as a neural tract-tracer through surface modification. Neural tract-tracing surface chemistry was chosen for the carrier because the tract-tracers have repeatedly demonstrated efficient reagent uptake and retrograde particle transport, which are believed to be the major barriers to neuronal transfection. Retrograde transport is particularly important for transfection of mature neurons with gene constructs, due to the highly elongated nature of neuronal processes. The proposed carrier also includes surface functional groups for customizable attachment of targeting ligands. The objectives of this research project are to optimize the reagent formulation to achieve a transfection efficiency of greater than 50% in mature mammalian neurons, demonstrate neuronal sub-type targeting capability through ligand attachment, and predictably modify the functional properties of a CNS circuit in an animal model. Successful development of this technology will enable the targeted regulation/observation of neuroplasticity and circuit function in the intact nervous system using molecular constructs. An unprecedented level of transfection efficiency and targeting capability for mature neurons is expected from this nucleic acid carrierby incorporating the essential features of nanoparticulate neural tract-tracers. A combination of high efficiency transfection and precise in vivo targeting capability would serve as a bridge between the field of molecular neurosciences and the systems, behavioral, and preclinical neurosciences, greatly increasing our means to understand and manipulate neuroplasticity and brain function, by enabling the increasingly powerful molecular- biological tools in use today to be broadly applied to neuroscience research. Ultimately, this strategy is expected to lead to more effective therapeutic treatments for a variety of neurological diseases and disorders, including Parkinson's disease, brain injury, and chronic drug addiction. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Neurological diseases and disorders, ranging from Parkinson's disease to chronic drug addiction, are extremely difficult to treat due to the complexity and unique challenges of the brain, its neurons, and its circuits. Moreover, neurons are highly resistant tonucleic acid transfection, which hinders the application of today's increasingly powerful molecular-biological tools in neuroscience research. In this Phase I proposal we will test a novel nanoparticle technology designed to significantly increase our understanding of nervous system function through the genetic regulation of brain circuits, and enable more effective treatments for variety of ailments afflicting the human nervous system.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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